Despite numerous reports that the Kings were trying to trade Jason Thompson and/or Jimmer Fredette before today's deadline, no such deal came to pass. Marcus Thornton was the last shoe to drop for the Kings in this season of change.
The Kings have had an NBA-high 21 different players on their roster this year, and only Cousins, Thomas, Fredette, Thompson and Outlaw remain from last year's team. Pete D'Alessandro and company have changed this roster immensely in just five months with more changes to come in the next few years.
So what does the fact that the Kings were unable to offload Jason Thompson or Jimmer Fredette tell us? For Jason, it's simply that his contract is incredibly onerous to most teams because of the length. From a basketball standpoint, not trading Jason Thompson is fine. Jason Thompson is a fine player, and one that many teams would like as a third big. The reason the Kings would have wanted to move Thompson is two-fold: to acquire a backup PG (evidenced by their interest in Jarrett Jack), and to lower future salary obligations, especially next year when the Kings will be hovering around the luxury tax if Rudy Gay chooses to opt in to his $19.3 million player option. Should the Kings re-sign Isaiah Thomas, they will almost certainly be above the luxury tax, but will have until the end of next season to maneuver beneath it, so it's not a pressing concern. A lot can change depending what Rudy Gay does this summer.
For Jimmer, I was kind of surprised that the Kings weren't even able to acquire a 2nd round pick for him. Philadelphia for example, has NINE 2014 second round picks and didn't want to send even one for Fredette. Part of the lack of interest has to do with the fact that he's an unrestricted free agent this year, meaning any team that's interested could simply wait until this summer to sign him to a deal without giving up an asset. A team would only have given up an asset for him if they thought Jimmer could help them over the rest of this season. Apparently none did.
There's still some intrigue left this season however, especially regarding Jason Terry. Will the Kings buy him out? If Terry would accept significantly less money to leave, that would allow him to leave for a contender (Miami just opened up a roster spot) and the Kings to create some breathing room under the tax for next season.
Should Terry stay, the Kings now have 14 players with 13 said to be active at all times. Coach Malone has made it clear that Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum will be getting a lot of time over these next 28 games, so the obvious candidates to be made inactive are Reggie Evans or Aaron Gray. The Kings already have plenty of big men, and Evans and Gray are not a part of this team's future. I'd much rather see Acy, Landry and Thompson get time.
These next 28 games will all be about seeing what the Kings have. There will be more stretches like last night in which the youth is given a chance to contribute, even if it lowers our chances of winning. Development of those guys, and continued evaluation of guys we have, is more important for this team going forward than the games themselves. That's not tanking, that's a fact. As Pete D'Alessandro has said, this roster isn't a finished product, and it likely won't be for quite some time. The Kings need to figure out if any of these guys will be part of that finished product and these final games will help a little bit in that regard.